"Although it's often called Mothers' Day it has no connection with the American festival which shares its name. Traditionally, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family."
"It also holds religious significance, since centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or 'mother' church once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their 'mother' church - the main church or cathedral of the area. And most historians think that it was the return to the 'Mother' church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family."
But what does it mean to you?
Sixteen years ago it was my first year as a mother, and it happened to coincide with my birthday. A special day indeed, my first as a mother myself, having previously only considered the day in the context of myself as a child. My own Mum is amazing, and I count myself incredibly fortunate to have had such a stable and loving environment to grow up in, nurtured by loving parents with a steadfast, caring and capable mother. A hard act to follow.
My first Mother's Day was also particularly poignant since (as is so often the case) my life failed to live up to the idealised master plan I intended for myself as a naive child. I found myself a single mum, working long hours miles from my family coping with a baby with chronic reflux. But like my own mother and millions of others, it takes a lot to get me down, and such trivialities are relatively easy to ride through at the tender age of 24, when sufficient sleep is a pleasant change rather than a pre-requisite for sustained sanity....
Sixteen years and a whole ocean under the bridge and I am the proud mum of four, with a loving husband, life partner and friend to share life's ups and downs. The learning curve of life has been as steep as any climbing wall at times, but Mother's Day is when I celebrate my greatest achievement in life - my children and my status as their mum. I'm far from perfect, but like the vast majority of mums across the world I put my children first and strive to be the best mum I can be.
For me it is also a day for remembering the simple pleasures of being a mum, for forgetting my status as nurse, social worker, advocate etc. Like many mums of children with disabilities and medical conditions, it's all too easy for life to become a round of caring and meeting additional needs, fighting their corner at school, ensuring they have the best opportunity to realise their potential despite the challenges they face. But on Mother's Day I will be focussing on the normal, the mundane, the oh-so-valuable and special daily aspects of being their Mum. So in that respect my childhood master plan did indeed come to full realisation, albeit not as simply as I imagined. Because from an early age, more than anything in the world I wanted to be a Mother, a Mum, someone's Mummy. And it is an incredibly fulfilling job on every level, bringing with it more challenges than I could of dreamt of, stretching me more than any corporate job and providing the deep job satisfaction any employee dreams of. It is, without a doubt, the best job in the world.
One of the most important things my own mother taught me is to be resourceful. Even when life doesn't pan out as anticipated there is always a way through. There is always hope, always a choice and an alternative path. Such a valuable life lesson, and one I hope my children will learn from me too.
So to all mothers everywhere, and in particular to my own, whatever your day means to you, I hope March 30th is everything it possibly can be. I will be shuttling between dancing and Cross Country, doing what I love most, with those who make me complete.